Who Is the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine?

The Mayo Clinic announces the end of the use of live animals in emergency medicine training as the Physicians committee for Responsible Medicine claims it is the FINAL medical school to do so.

The website www.pcrm.org claims that the organization has been working for three decades to end animal use in the areas of advanced medical training including emergency medicine training, Advanced Trauma Life Support, combat trauma training and paramedic training. It is true that a complaint against the Mayo Clinic’s use of live pigs in once-a-year emergency medical training was the basis for the capitulation of Mayo.  John Hopkins Medical Center, Baltimore and Hennepin Healthcare in Minnesota both have ended the practice in recent years, after facing criticism from the Physicians Committee.

You may remember the February 2019 ad that appeared on Fox and MSNBC in 18 states with high colorectal cancer rates claiming that eating bacon daily increased the risk of cancer by 18 percent.

According to www.activistfacts.com “The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. PCRM is a fanatical animal rights group that seeks to remove, eggs, milk, meat, and seafood from the American diet, and to eliminate the use of animals in scientific research. Despite its operational and financial ties to other animal activist groups and its close relationship with violent zealots, PCRM has successfully duped the media and much of the general public into believing that its pronouncements about the superiority of vegetarian-only diets represent the opinion of the medical community.”

Newsweek magazine wrote in 2004 that less than 5 percent of PCRM’s members are actually physicians. They currently claim they have 12,000 physician members. The website continues “Current data indicates that only 10 percent of PCRM’s members graduated from medical school”.  Clicking the become a member link on the pcrm.org website takes you to a donation screen where you select an amount for a gift from $25 to $1,000 of a blank space for “other” and then you register to become part of their mailing list.  It does say the gift is tax deductible.  I did not find anywhere it ask questions about your role in healthcare, or if you had one.

The AMA has called PCRM a “fringe organization” and that it is a fountain of disinformation. PCRM discourages donations to other health charities such as the AHA, ACS, St Jude’s Hospital American Foundation for AIDS Research and others.  All because they have supported research that requires animals in order to cure human pathology.

Two major campaigns in the California Legislature in 2018 instigated and supported by PCRM resulted in a law that requires hospitals to provide a vegetarian diet to patients who request it and to ban the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on live animals.  Both have far reaching implications for the future.  In the Fall, 2018 PCRM launched a campaign in the Washington DC area targeting hospitals and areas of high colorectal cancers to “break up with bacon” and “bacon can bite you back”.

This organization may be friend or foe, but it has definitely changed the training methods for ED docs forever. I am not sure if that is spurs us to be innovative and develop new simulations and equipment or if puts patients at risk.  If you want to weigh in on the bacon issue, Google “Break up with bacon”.


One thought on “Who Is the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine?

  1. I’ve been a (modest) supporter of this organizations. I’m a physician, but I guess I should have known that most of its “members” are not. Your article is fairly balanced and informative, thank you. I do support most of PCRM’s work, but am not in complete agreement with it. As caregivers of other humans, we should sympathize with other complex animals, who almost certainly have consciousness. By the way, there are also strong environmental reasons for a low- or no-animal diet. In the era of hi-tech simulation, there is probably no need for live-animal labs. But in medical research, animals are needed for physiologic and pharmacologic testing, as humanely as possible. Animals should definitely not be made to suffer for human cosmetics. Just my opinions. P Draper MD MPH, Chicago

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